Live now for close to a year, the Netherlands has the potential to be a hugely popular market for regulated casino. We sat down with Greentube’s Reg Das, Managing Director at Greentube Netherlands, as well as Light & Wonder’s Enrique Boedo, New Business Manager, to get the latest from two of the market’s player favourites. This one’s not to be missed!
Talk us through your first few months of being live on the regulated market – what’s resonating with players?
(EB) Enrique Boedo – New Business Manager at Light & Wonder: When it comes to our first party content, our presence in the land-based casino sphere has paid off tremendously and we’ve seen that players have been actively looking for our cross-platform titles such as 88 Fortunes, Jin Ji Bao Xi and Dancing Drums, all of which have proven particularly popular both in land-based and online.
In terms of aggregation, we’ve got 38 studios live in the Netherlands. One studio we have been particularly impressed by is ELK Studios, a recent acquisition. They have a tournament feature that’s doing incredibly well in the Netherlands, which has shown us that Dutch players enjoy that social element and like to be engaged by the operator.
(RD) Reg Das, Managing Director at Greentube Netherlands: What we see is that our so-called ‘classic slots’ are especially popular. These are online versions of (once) popular Dutch fruit machines from the land-based space. Several companies that manufacture these Dutch fruit machines are part of our parent company NOVOMATIC, and Greentube Netherlands develops online version of these machines.
Famous game titles owned by NOVOMATIC such as Random Runner, Simply Wild and Club 2000 attract the attention of the players online too. Simply Wild is a machine that can be found in thousands of bars across the Netherlands as well. Next to these classic slots, the NOVOMATIC blue chip games such as Book of Ra are also very popular. These games can also be found in machines in gaming arcades and casinos around the country, indicating that content that is familiar to players already is resonating best in the market.
Given the unique Dutch land-based heritage across arcades and the like – how much do you see that giving Dutch players a unique type of player profile compared to the likes of the UK and Scandinavia?
(RD): What stands out is that Dutch players like the ‘classics’ a lot, much more than in other European countries. This is not something new though, and before the online market became regulated this was already the case. Why Dutch players like these classics so much might be explained by the fact that we still have a lot of ‘analogue machines’ in the land-based market. These machines with electro-mechanical reels have disappeared from nearly all European markets but in the Netherlands, they are still popular and can be found in every bar. Typically, these gaming machines have a specific game structure which is tailored for the Dutch machine regulations. Over the years, many players have learned to love that type of game, and this can now be seen online.
(EB): The Dutch market seems to have a really nice balance. Players tend to stick with their land-based favourites, but they’ve also shown an appetite for new content with unique mechanics. Scandi-type content is also working well in the Netherlands, growing in presence via brands like ELK.
Regarding player profiles, whilst every market is different, I see more similarities between the Dutch and the Scandinavian market compared to the Dutch and UK market.
When it comes to regulation – how much has there been to navigate in comparison with restrictions in other European markets when going live? Does this mean a significant change to strategy?
(RD): As we focus on developing slots, it hasn’t been a lot. Fortunately, the rules that apply to slots are standard and general and they leave enough room for us to be able to build attractive games. The only restriction that stands out is that autoplay is prohibited. However, the fruit machine games we make require player interaction regularly as choices need to be made so it’s different than for standard casino slots.
(EB): Compared to other jurisdictions, I believe Dutch regulation is not at all unreasonable or difficult. Regulatory requirements and restrictions on games haven’t been a problem for us which has meant we’ve been able to focus on offering players a wide variety of content in a safe and secure environment almost from day 1 of the new regulation coning in place. Doing so has helped cement Light & Wonder as a leading cross-platform global game company renowned for building new worlds of play.
Last but not least – what’s your hottest vertical that readers should be watching for this summer?
(RD): I am very excited about a new range of games we are producing which combine the familiarity of our popular brands with mechanics that are trendy now. For example, we have combined our Random Runner brand with the now hugely popular Hold & Spin mechanic and players can expect more of those combinations. We have already seen that new variations on these original games are appreciated by players, as long as we do it right. So, I’m confident that this new range will appeal to the audience of players that prefer the classics.
(EB): We are really excited about our localised content roadmaps, building games that are targeting specific markets. For example, targeting the European market, this summer we’ll be releasing our own new Accumul8 mechanic game that will see players win when eight matching symbols appear, even if they aren’t connected.
We also have some excellent content to roll out from Playzido, a company we recently acquired. Their advanced game development technology which is considered to be one of the best in the iGaming industry allows Light & Wonder to deliver operators custom games for key customers, which is a fantastic way for their players to experience unique, distinctive content.